BArich Taiwan-Taiwanese violinist Tseng Yu-chien was awarded the silver medal Wednesday in the violin category of the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. No one won the gold medal in the prestigious competition this year.

Tseng, 20, beat contestants from Russia, Moldova, South Korea and Germany to achieve the best-ever performance for Taiwan in the competition, which is held every four years.

Four years ago, Tseng got through to the top-eight round of the competition as the youngest contestant and won a special jury prize.

Tseng told CNA after the award ceremony late Wednesday that he "had hoped but not expected" to win and that he appreciated very much the recognition of the jury.

Tseng also said he was very happy to win a silver medal.

On his subsequent plans, Tseng said he wants to have a good rest because the process of preparing for the competition was very difficult, involving rehearsals and practice every day.

For the final round, which was held over three days, each of the six violin finalists had to perform the Tchaikovsky violin concerto and another concerto of their choice. Tseng, who played on June 29, chose the one composed by Jean Sibelius.

Many of Tseng's friends left congratulatory messages on his Facebook page.

"Yu-chien, we are so proud of you! Congratulations!" one of them wrote.

"You are our champion. Super!" another wrote.

"Thank you for bringing comfort to Taiwanese at such a time," the other said, apparently referring to a fiery explosion in Taiwan last weekend which claimed two lives and left some 490 others injured.

First held in 1958, the International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition for pianists, violinists and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age. Each category is judged and awarded separately.

It is one of the top events in the international music community alongside the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Poland, the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Belgium, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the United States.

In this year's competition, three contestants in the violin category shared third place and two contestants were respectively awarded fourth and fifth place.

Coming in third place were Halik Kazazyan and Pavel Milyukov of Russia, along with Alexandra Conunova of Moldova. Fourth and fifth place were respectively given to two South Korean contestants, Clara-Jumi Kang and Bomsori Kim.

Many of the 17 judges are world-renowned leading violinists, including Yuri Bashmet, Salvatore Accardo, Leonidas Kavakos and Vera Tsu Wei Ling.

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